In times past, people reused and repurposed as many items as possible. Homemakers, mainly women, made clothing for their families. Old dresses became aprons and a torn apron became a face cloth or dust rag.
Few household goods were thrown away. Jars and jugs were always reused. Metal objects were repaired or remade into something else that was useful. Parts in old automobiles were salvaged. Old tires could be made into buckets or they were used in irrigation.
Today, we live in a disposable society where anything that is not used is thrown away. Occasionally, we donate old clothing and household items to charities and second-hand stores. Then we go out and buy more. Society is consumer-driven, encouraging people to spend money on clothing, automobiles, computers, electronics and household goods. Many items are imported rather than made locally.
Upcycling is becoming more popular at junk removal Sydney locations and garbage sites. Many items won’t break down for centuries and thus the risk of air and ground contamination is high. Upcycling gives old materials a new purpose and a new life.
“Reduce, reuse and recycle” is a popular slogan for this island continent. Our entire planet is running out of room for inorganic waste. Recycling is breaking down glass, metals, plastics and other items so they can be fabricated again. This requires fuel. The only energy need for upcycling is your willingness to do-it-yourself.
You will find many used furniture stores around Sydney and other cities where people have given away or sold old tables, chairs, sofas, lamps and other items. These can be upcycled and repurposed.
An old dresser set, serving buffet or desk can be remade into a bathroom vanity or kitchen work area. An old serving bowl becomes a fashionable vessel sink when the bottom is refitted with a drain. Some styles of old handles can be made into faucet levers.
Old jars, vases, bowls, buckets and coffee cans are often remade into planters and holders with a little paint and paper. Lamps and shades have been crafted from buckets, vases, glassware, cans and jars. People who enjoy craft work have created interesting and practical objects from disposable items.
Paper and cardboard will eventually disintegrate. Plastic will last for generations even if it is torn or cracked.
Check out the Plastic Bottle Village on Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Plastic bottle homes are now constructed in other countries including the U.S., Honduras, Columbia and Nigeria. This is the ultimate in upcycling.
You can use plastic bottles to build a dog house or playhouse. Plastic bottles can be cut into different shapes and painted to form flowers and other designs that can be mounted on boards for wall hangings. The bottles can also be cut and shaped into mobiles. Reuse plastic bottles any way you can.
Many items purchased in food stores come in some sort of plastic container that can be reused for storage after they are washed. Colorful plastic bags have been woven into mats and rugs. Old plastic tubes, including a vacuum hose, can be fashioned into a circle that forms the base for a holiday wreath.
The entire concept of upcycling is to use existing materials as much as possible. Handbags, messenger bags or storage bags made from old jeans and sweatshirts are hip. All it takes is a little ingenuity to make the most of items you once considered junk. Reuse and upcycle to save the planet.